In photosynthesis Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) catalyses the often rate limiting CO2-fixation step in the Calvin cycle. This makes Rubisco both the gatekeeper for carbon entry into the biosphere and a target for functional improvement to enhance photosynthesis and plant growth. Encumbering the catalytic performance of Rubisco is its highly conserved, complex catalytic chemistry. Accordingly, traditional efforts to enhance Rubisco catalysis using protracted “trial and error” protein engineering approaches have met with limited success. Here we demonstrate the versatility of high throughput directed (laboratory) protein evolution for improving the carboxylation properties of a non-photosynthetic Rubisco from the archaea Methanococcoides burtonii. Using chloroplast transformation in the model plant Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) we confirm the improved forms of M. burtonii Rubisco increased photosynthesis and growth relative to tobacco controls producing wild-type M. burtonii Rubisco. Our findings indicate continued directed evolution of archaeal Rubisco offers new potential for enhancing leaf photosynthesis and plant growth.